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Blinken: Supporting women’s rights key to normalizing relations with Taliban

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the Taliban must support the rights of women and girls if it wants to improve relations with the United States and other countries.

Blinken made the remarks during a speech at the State Department on Sunday, saying the US has been “very clear” with the Taliban that it will not have a “normal relationship” with the group unless it upholds the rights of women and girls.

“We’ve been very clear with the Taliban, and dozens of countries around the world have been very clear, that the path to any more normal relationship between the Taliban and other countries will be blocked unless and until the rights of women and girls, among other things, are actually supported,” Blinken said.

Blinken asserted that the US will continue to hold the Taliban accountable for its commitments.

“We will continue to work with our partners to hold the Taliban accountable for the many commitments that it’s made and not fulfilled, particularly when it comes to the rights of women and girls,” Blinken said.

Regarding the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Blinken acknowledged that it was an “incredibly difficult” decision, but also the right one, alluding that the US has ended its longest war.

“For the first time in 20 years, we don’t have another generation of young Americans going to fight and die in Afghanistan,” he added.  

Additionally, Blinken reiterated the US’s commitment to people who assisted in the US mission in Afghanistan, underlining that the US will continue to help them through the Special Immigrant Visa program. He confirmed that nearly 34,000 visas have been issued since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

He emphasized that as Afghanistan’s leading donor, the US will continue to support its people, including through humanitarian assistance.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on women’s rights. The group has imposed a number of restrictions on women and girls, including curtailing their rights to education and employment.

While the Taliban’s crackdown on women’s rights has been met with widespread condemnation and backlash from the international community, the group has shown no signs of reversing its policies.